Instead of: If you get lost in a store, ask a trusted adult to help you find me
Say: If you get lost in a store, stay in the building and find someone with a name tag to help you.
It's practically impossible for a scared child to be able to make a judgment about whom to trust, so kids will sometimes look outside the store for their parents, says Joselle Shea, director of children and youth initiatives at the National Crime Prevention Council, in Arlington, Virginia. Be very clear that you want your child to remain in the building and ask someone who works at the store to help him find you. The next time you're out together, play a game to see how many employee name tags your child can spot -- and point out that they'll usually be on workers by the cash registers. Go one better: Start teaching your child his first and last name, his parents' first and last names, and the family phone number so he can give them to the employee. "Most kids can begin learning these facts at age 4 and master them by age 5," says Shea.